Tom Cruise’s newest film, “American Made,” is based on the true story of Barry Seal, a commercial pilot who was hired by the CIA to run guns and supplies into Central America during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
While he is employed with the CIA, Barry is also working with the Medellin drug cartel run by Pablo Escobar and using his plane to bring their shipments of cocaine into the United States.
There are two distinct ways that the viewer can see Barry.
On one hand, he is double crossing the CIA by bringing cocaine into America, thereby helping the Medellin cartel grow to the insurmountable size it did.
On the other hand, everything that Barry does, he does to help his family.
It is established early on that he is a devout family man and that he wants the best for his wife and three children.
This testament is strengthened as he becomes more rich and more deeply involved in the cartel and still remains faithful to his family.
It is easy to not like a character like Jordan Belfort from “The Wolf of Wall Street” because not only is he illegally acquiring his money, but he also is a terrible husband and father.
This line is far more ambiguous with Barry.
The cinematography of “American Made” takes a little bit of getting used to.
In some scenes, it is shot like a traditional film, while in others, shaky cam and quick zooms are employed.
Shots like these give the movie a real feeling of depth, as it is almost like a documentary; however, the rapid changes between these shots can be pretty disorienting toward the beginning of the film. This feeling quickly goes away as the story takes off.
This is not really a complaint, but merely an observation of a quirky camera style that the general public was not informed of prior to the film’s release.
Overall, “American Made” just seemed lackluster. It is by no means a bad movie, but saying that it is a good movie would be stretching the truth.
The story and acting are spot -on, and the unique cinematography adds to the over encompassing style of the movie.
With that being said, it just feels like there is some ineffable element that is missing from the film that leaves the audience with a “meh” feeling when the film ends.
This is probably a movie you’d want to skip, but if you want to see some of the same subject matter but from the perspective of Pablo Escobar, try Netflix’s “Narcos.”
The award-winning online show is currently in its third season and is perfect for binge watching.